Everything You Want to Know About Styling Ottomans

Many different types of furniture can be flexible, but none are quite as versatile as the chameleon-like ottoman! But what is an ottoman, anyway? And why is it called that?


Let’s explore the history of this iconic piece of furniture, its name, and just a few of the countless ways you can use an ottoman in your home. Kick your feet up, and we’ll get started!


What Is An Ottoman?


Generally speaking, an ottoman is a piece of furniture that can be used as a footrest or a seat. Ottomans don’t have any kind of back or armrests and are often padded for comfort. Ottomans can come in various shapes and sizes, such as square, rectangular, round, or oval. The materials can vary from cotton, wool, leather, metal, or wood. 


Some ottomans have a “lid” on them, and the inside can be used for storage. Others may have a flat tray built into the top for things like remote controls or even decor. Keep reading for ideas on choosing a style and ottoman for your home!


Why Is It Called An Ottoman?


Ottomans are named in reference to the Ottoman Empire, also known as the Turkish Empire. They ruled a significant portion of Southeast Europe, West Asia, and North Africa for approximately 600 years, from 1299 to 1922.


The ottoman is believed to have originated in Ottoman Turkey and first became popular during the 18th century in other parts of Europe. Initially, the furniture was made in very ornate, lavish styles often associated with designs standard in Ottoman architecture and furniture. It eventually evolved to reference the general piece of furniture regardless of style!


Hassock vs ottoman


You may hear the words “hassock” and “ottoman” used interchangeably. While this is somewhat true and can vary regionally, there are some differences between the two pieces.


  • Hassock: A hassock is usually a more basic fabric footrest or seat. They do not have storage and can be taller than ottomans. The word “hassock” can also refer to floor cushions for kneeling during certain religious ceremonies.


  • Ottoman: An ottoman tends to be a larger, almost coffee-table-sized footrest. Ottomans often have storage inside and come in many shapes and styles. Ottomans tend to have more variation in style.


Ottoman Decor Ideas


Now that you know precisely what an ottoman is, how do you use one in your home? Try these ideas!


1. Use an ottoman for hidden storage.


Ottomans with storage are timeless and can be used for almost anything you want to keep in reach but out of sight. Some popular uses include books or magazines, blankets, pet toys, or even electronics like handheld game systems and phone chargers.


2. Make a statement.


Ottomans come in endless shapes, sizes, materials, and styles. That means you can find an ottoman to fit your home, no matter the size of your space or your personal decor. You can always match an ottoman to the sofa or chair you’re pairing it with, but you can also use it to make a statement! Consider a bold color, unique fabric, or funky shape, and use your ottoman as a striking focal point in the room.


3. Add an ottoman for additional seating.


Ottomans aren’t just for feet  – they can be used as seats, too. Utilize an ottoman as a flexible piece of furniture that can be used as a footrest when you have plenty of space or a seat when you have a crowd. This is especially helpful if you don’t have room for many accent chairs in your space but want to host a group. Ottomans are also a great way to add a seat to a room, such as a bedroom, offering a place to sit while getting dressed or kicking off your shoes.


4. Make a chair more comfortable.


Do you have a living room chair with a stiff back, uncomfortable fabric, or hard cushions? It might not be the chair that anyone in your home gravitates towards, and it sits collecting dust. Consider adding an ottoman to help make the seat more comfortable! By putting your feet up, you can sit in a more relaxed position instead of sitting pin-straight upright.


5. Skip the coffee table.


This is another great tip for smaller spaces that necessitate flexible furniture. If you don’t have room for an ottoman and a coffee table, opt for the ottoman! Some come with a tray or hard surface already built in, or you can add a fun tray that matches your decor. That way, you have a piece that can be used as a table, footrest, storage, or even a seat.


Kick Your Feet Up With Accent Piece from CORT Outlet!


Ottomans have been an iconic staple of home decor for centuries, and there’s a reason for that! They come in so many styles, colors, materials, and sizes that they can fit almost any type of decor. Ottomans also provide fantastic functions such as footrests and, in some cases, hidden storage. Embracing this piece of accent decor is a no-brainer for any home!

When it comes time to add a new piece of accent furniture to your home – from ottomans to side tables – turning to CORT Furniture Outlet is a no-brainer, too. CORT Furniture Outlet offers deep discounts of up to 70% off retail prices on high-quality used furniture, much of which is available for next-day pickup. Adding a new piece of furniture to your home doesn’t have to break your budget, and you can rest easy knowing it has been inspected and cleaned by our team. Shop online or in-store today!

Find Furniture